“This all may seem to be about trade, but it’s actually about automation and low-skilled men who feel emasculated.”
-It’s not even about that. It’s about education. The sheer extent and broadness of Trump’s gains relative to Romney (and Clinton’s losses relative to Obama) with the non-college-educated of every race, location, and sex is something which cannot be explained by the loss of manufacturing jobs, racism, or any other facile and wrong explanation. Trump even made gains (percentage-wise, at least) relative to Mitt Romney in most counties in Texas, even as he got a smaller percentage of the vote than Mitt Romney nationwide (and in Texas, due to the cities shifting against him). Most counties in Texas have never had an interest in protection of manufacturing jobs. Almost all were solidly Democratic (pro-free-trade) in every sense until 1928. In the county of Indiana which went heaviest for Cruz in the primary, Trump in November got a higher percentage of the vote and a higher number of votes than Mitt Romney did in 2012.
Focusing on manufacturing jobs (proof: rural Texas), racism (proof: 1964 election, Trump’s gains among Blacks and Hispanics), sexism (proof: Hillary 2008, Trump’s gains among non-college women), or even primary vote (proof: Indiana 2016 primary), as an explanation for Trump’s gains over Romney is a fool’s errand. It’s about education.